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Hail Spring! Wet Wasteland!

Well I stepped out of East Lodge on Wednesday and literally bumped into Clive and Charles Engwell as they came into the Lodge!  On the steps outside what felt like a bucket of ice was thrown over me and Charles, it gave us both a surprise and a shock!  Winter April showers! Hail!! Hail Spring!!! Charles offered me a lift home, but no I had to complete my 10,000 steps for the day! No umbrella, but a hood, thank goodness, so off I set on the track home. Miserable in the park, cold wet and windy and I scurried along head down hoping the shower would pass.

No chance! Struggled through the Pump Room Gardens, by now I could feel the rain trickling down my neck, into Victoria Park where the water breached my breeches! Cold wet jeans are not very comfortable, sticking to my legs and the damp leaching down to meet the splashes coming up my ankles! Crossed Princes Drive and thinking maybe I should take the road? No, a much longer way home and it can’t be that bad by the river…can it? Well the water was building up and negotiating a dripping cyclist proved a challenge. Striding out, trying to ignore the soggy denim, I started up from the Riverside Walk towards the canal. I was feeling rather exposed when the lightning started and the rumble of thunder really made me anxious. I don’t usually mind thunder, but seeing the exposed path to the field ahead made me lengthen my stride and hurry on. I was a tiny bit scared! Oh how I wish I had accepted Charles’ offer!

On reaching the tiny path between the field of sheep and lambs, I felt protected from the lightning and thunder by the tall trees and bushes lining the railway track. Just as a train screeched past and made me jump! The path there, if you know it, is narrow and encountering another pedestrian is always tricky as you have to turn aside. This time another bicycle appeared, the handlebars just the width of the path! Normally this would be no problem, but by now this path is a juvenile stream, with adolescent ideas of becoming a river! I straddled the path with one foot either side of the torrent and the cyclist manoeuvred the bike past me. Then paddling up towards the canal I though “nice weather for ducks…”, but no not even a duck in sight on the canal! The raindrops and dripping trees were competing to be the largest and last concentric circle on the surface of the water, jostling for position as each one plopped over the one before it.

Squelching through the mud, leaping puddles, rain dripping from my hood, nose, fingers, coat, handbag, shopping bag and splashing up my soggy boots I sploshed along the towpath. What a relief to pull myself up the steps to the street by Tesco and then to splat my way home. Hooray! Every single thing I was wearing was soaked through, my coat dripped over the back of the kitchen chair, boots stuffed with newspaper in the airing cupboard, I emptied both bags and spread out the contents to dry. Changing in to dry clothes I put the kettle on in time to see through the kitchen window bright sunshine and a steaming garden!

This is by way of diversion really as I am supposed to be spurring you on to consider entering the LSA Open Competition based on “The Waste Land”! I must say swathes of countryside did look like a wasteland for a moment on my walk home! Anyway a few people have been saying they feel confused with TS Eliot’s poem and are finding it a challenge to find a subject that inspires them. I say do not worry that you find it difficult, everyone does. It is the density of thought, ideas and imagery that lends itself to creating art in my opinion. One piece of advice I have to suggest is to hear the poem read out loud. TS Eliot reads it himself, and it is worth listening to it, for a little while anyway, as he is rather monotone and expressionless! I suggest the Jeremy Irons and Eileen Atkins version recorded for Radio 4 30th March 2012 is more accessible.  You will find it here!

Jeremy Irons and Eileen Atkins Read TS Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ BBC Radio 4

The latest blogpost from ‘Journeys with “The Waste Land”‘ can be found here too!


Good luck and be inspired! The online submission form and details are on the LSA website now!

Karen Parker



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